Getty Images has made some waves with its recent announcement that it will allow free use of 35 million (out of 80 million total) Getty images for non-commercial use without a watermark (it appears that Getty does not consider use on blogs containing ads to be commercial use).
Many folks are lauding Getty for the move, and others have interpreted it as an admission by the media giant of how ineffectual watermarking really had become. Apparently, people were either removing the watermark before using Getty's images anyway, or turning to a different source for a stock image that wasn’t encumbered by restrictive licensing and watermarks (such as Flickr).
But there's more behind the move, according to Pat David of PetaPixel. It’s a sneaky play by Getty to significantly increase their footprint on the web in general, and to enable a massive amount of monetization if it works for them.
First of all, the tool that Getty requires bloggers to use in order to captures the images generates an